A Streetcar Named Desire

How Events of The Past Lead to Isolation In 'A Streetcar Named Desire' and 'Mrs Dalloway' 12th Grade

In both the play ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ and the novel ‘Mrs Dalloway,’ the protagonists are primarily isolated within society by the consequences of their pasts. While Williams and Woolf use the past to evoke both nostalgia for a better time and regret over the tragic elements of the past for their characters, and both these interpretations of the past isolate the characters in the present, Woolf juxtaposes the fates of Clarissa and Septimus (one caught in memories of a happy youth at Bourton, the other in wartime trauma) to criticize British post-war society’s divisions. For his part, Williams focuses on portraying Blanche as the bastion of Southern upper-class behavior, defeated by the violent new world order represented by Stanley Kowalksi.

The events of the past intrude on the present lives of the main characters from ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ and ‘Mrs Dalloway’ in various ways, both metaphorical and literal, and in the case of ‘Streetcar’ Williams uses the literal elements of the performance such as music and costume to convey this fact. The musical motif of the Varsouviana polka that Williams uses is a link to the past which the audience and Blanche can hear, but no other characters can, which demonstrates how she has...

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